mTORC1 and mTORC2 Kinase Signaling and Glucose Metabolism Drive Follicular Helper T Cell Differentiation

Hu Zeng, Sivan Cohen, Cliff Guy, Sharad Shrestha, Geoffrey Neale, Scott A. Brown, Caryn Cloer, Rigel J. Kishton, Xia Gao, Ben Youngblood, Mytrang Do, Ming O. Li, Jason W. Locasale, Jeffrey C. Rathmell, Hongbo Chi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


Follicular helper T (Tfh) cells are crucial for germinal center (GC) formation and humoral adaptive immunity. Mechanisms underlying Tfh cell differentiation in peripheral and mucosal lymphoid organs are incompletely understood. We report here that mTOR kinase complexes 1 and 2 (mTORC1 and mTORC2) are essential for Tfh cell differentiation and GC reaction under steady state and after antigen immunization and viral infection. Loss of mTORC1 and mTORC2 in T cells exerted distinct effects on Tfh cell signature gene expression, whereas increased mTOR activity promoted Tfh responses. Deficiency of mTORC2 impaired CD4+ T cell accumulation and immunoglobulin A production and aberrantly induced the transcription factor Foxo1. Mechanistically, the costimulatory molecule ICOS activated mTORC1 and mTORC2 to drive glycolysis and lipogenesis, and glucose transporter 1-mediated glucose metabolism promoted Tfh cell responses. Altogether, mTOR acts as a central node in Tfh cells by linking immune signals to anabolic metabolism and transcriptional activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)540-554
Number of pages15
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 20 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'mTORC1 and mTORC2 Kinase Signaling and Glucose Metabolism Drive Follicular Helper T Cell Differentiation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this